Reasons why the Christmas season can cause distress
While images of joyful storefronts, Christmas movies, and cheerful magazine articles are rampant over the holiday season, for many the reality of the festive season isn’t so pleasant. Between stressful end-of-year deadlines, lack of money, family conflicts, poor eating & drinking habits, plus increasingly cold, dark winter days, it’s easy for the holidays to not feel so merry and bright.
For many reasons, the month of December can also be a particularly difficult time of year for those dealing with the loss of a loved one, divorce, loneliness and suffering with mental health issues. Patients treated by emergency services during the holiday season reported the common stressors were loneliness & “being without family,” according to a recent Canadian study.
10 tips to ensure a festive holiday full of fun, peace & joy
- Set a clear and defined budget on holiday spending and stick with it.
- Focus on the reality of your own Christmas rather than the misrepresentation of the holiday media circus.
- One of the best ways to feel good is by giving to worthwhile causes. Helping others at Christmas is comforting to both them and you.
- Focus your thoughts on all the good things you have in life and be grateful for all of it, rather than focusing on what you don’t have.
- Holiday planning is hectic, so get stuff done in advance. By handling stressors early you will overcome ‘holiday rush’ and all that goes with it.
- Getting enough sleep, watching your eating & drinking consumption thru the holidays will alleviate further stress & unhealthy bad habits
- Start a journal by writing down your goals, specifically what your plans will be in the new year. Jot down the things you really want on paper to give you a more focused action plan to achieve the results you desire.
- Stay physically active. Unless you have a fitness membership or an avid skier it is difficult to be active outside in the winter months. Go for walks around your neighborhood or walk on a treadmill to keep fit, both physically and mentally. Keep moving!
- Do something meaningful. Feelings of loneliness or being bored can be attributed to losing your sense of self. All of us want to feel like we belong and that our life has importance. Only you know what will create purpose and a sense of identity in your life. Write these down as well in your journal along with your goals.
- You are the most important person in your life. Start treating yourself as such. Get to a spa, give yourself a massage, listen to soothing relaxing music, cook healthy comfort food; read inspiring books; have a cup of herbal tea. All these are great remedies to create comfort in your life, not only over the holiday season.